Jaden Smith – The Sunset Tapes Album Review

Story posted November 23, 2018 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jack Grossman

To mark the one year anniversary of SYRE, Jaden Smith gives listeners his brand new mixtape, The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story. Clocking in at about 36 minutes, Smith’s sequel of sorts not only showcases his ability to manipulate his voice, but also mix it with writing that strikes emotions. The sound of Sunset Tapes are chock full of influences that range from modern trap to autotune-based sounds similar to that of Bon Iver. All the while, Smith maintains the consistent alternative rap sound he established within SYRE while leaving room for unique and different ideas to take place.

The album consists of tracks of varying styles. Some of them, such as “Play This On A Mountain At Sunset,” invoke relaxing and even dream-like tones by the brilliant use of mixing sounds with Smith’s voice. Others, such as “Plastic” and “Better Things,” are what could be considered as Smith’s take on the popular trap genre. Throughout this mixtape, Smith is not lost in the creative direction that he found back in SYRE, and this project is instead a reaffirmation that his era is still ever present.

Sunset Tapes does not come without its weaker moments, however. Particularly, on songs like “Yeah Yeah” and “FALLEN Part 2,” one’s focus and attention to Smith’s sound might dwindle, as the mixing of both the autotune and music can seem a bit off at times. The lyrics in some of the tracks such as “Ten Ten” might also be a little confusing to those who actually want to listen in. However, once the listener just accepts the album as a product of Smith’s creativity, they can enjoy Sunset Tapes with all of the bells and whistles it has to offer.

The production on Smith’s work has been top notch, and Sunset Tapes is no exception. With several producers being enlisted such as Muse of 808 Mafia on “Ten Ten” and Mel & Mus on “SOHO,” the album’s colorful sound is mixing mostly well with Smith’s vocals. It also brings a physical interpretation of Smith’s album cover art - a casual photograph of Smith in front of a very colorful pink sunset, reminiscent of the original SYRE album. Color is a quality that is ever-present and embodied within the entirety of the mixtape and its production is no exception.

Jaden Smith has put out not only a commemoration for his previous work, but a piece that is able to stand out entirely on its own. With its own collection of heartbreak, creativity and vibes to just hang out to, Smith presents The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story as a love letter to not only the women in his life, as he mentioned prior to its release, but also to all of his fans. It is a piece that is not only different and stands out, but is also entirely something only Jaden Smith could release. Old fans and new listeners alike should not hesitate to try out The Sunset Tapes: A Cool Tape Story.

Rating: 7/10



Jack Grossman is a junior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jackdgrossman@gmail.com.